skywatchers report

Welcome to the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report for Monday March 30th through Sunday April 5th.

The moon is at first quarter on Wednesday night, so we will have a waxing crescent for the first half of the week and a waxing gibbous moon for the second half. The moon will form a triangle with the Hyades and Pleiades open star clusters on Monday night.

Late on Monday Mercury will be in superior conjunction with the sun, so we will not be able to see it in our skies until next week when it reemerges low in the west after sunset.

Venus, Uranus, Mars, Neptune and Jupiter are all up in the morning skies, with Jupiter rising the earliest at 4:50 a.m. Saturn is high in the east as the sky darkens this week.

The space shuttle Discovery landed safely on Saturday after delivering the final set of solar panels to the International Space Station, to prepare it to go to a crew of six in a few months. The next shuttle mission will be the final mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope.

Public viewing at the 16-inch reflector on top of Robert Lee Moore Hall is on Wednesday nights this week from 8 to 10 p.m. RLM is located on the southeast corner of Dean Keeton and Speedway. Take the elevator to the 17th floor and follow the signs to the telescope. Next week we will be open from 7 to 11 p.m. to celebrate Yuri’s Night, the anniversary of the first manned spaceflight on April 12, 1961. We will have entertainment, food and educational materials in addition to the regular telescope viewing.

Public viewing at the 9-inch refractor at Painter Hall is on Friday and Saturday nights now from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. – please note the new time. Painter Hall is located on 24th street about halfway between Speedway and Guadalupe and is northeast of the UT Tower. To get to the telescope, take the elevator to the 5th floor and exit to the left. Follow the 5th floor hallway to the end and take the staircase through the double doors on the left. Once you reach the 6th floor, go to your right and follow the signs up to the telescope.

All events are free and open to all ages and no reservations are required. Note that viewing times and availability change throughout the year. Observing events are weather permitting. Please call 232-4265 for weather cancellation information, which is updated 30 to 60 minutes before the scheduled viewing start time when a viewing is cancelled.

Thank you for calling the University of Texas Skywatchers' Report.